Blood on the Leaves: “March: Book One” by John Lewis (2/3)

“Blood on the Leaves,” is an old song about lynching. Nina Simone’s rendition is my favourite, regardless, it conjures up certain images. Gory, brutal, horrible images. Bodies strung up, blood dripping on the leaves naturally–as if it was just the dew that sets in in the morning.  Racism is sometimes like that, it seems to come naturally and its evidences are strung up for those who notice, to see it.


Common symptoms of Racism

  1. Segregation
  2. White Progress

As long as unarmed black men, teenagers, and young men are being shot in the streets the lack” of lynchings is still not quite progress in my opinion.


Page 40-41 is overt racism, which is neither new nor ground breaking. More focus should be given to the montage on pages 42-3.

White Progress

There’s no need to go deeep into history, but what people conveniently forget is that things weren’t so hot for black people in the North either. Besides the “Red Summer”in Chicago circa 1919, daily life is also segregated in the North, but just to a lesser degree than in the South.

City Montage (pgs. 42-5)

Lewis shows deep astonishment at the fact that his Uncle Carter is living near white people. He shows childish amazement at the escalator, department store, Neapolitan candy, and just differentness from his regular rural lifestyle. In this flurry of excitement, it is almost irresistible to forget that the only direct interactions between blacks & whites in this story, so far, is commercial.

The Lynching of Emmett Till

He was not strung up from a tree, but this a lynching nonetheless. How is this white progress? one may ask. Since lynchings don’t happen as much anymore, (most people have upgraded to guns) many are tempted to believe that it is progress. Because hate crimes against black people remains largely unseen, many assume it does not exist. The recent cases of: Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown can strongly argue otherwise. As long as unarmed black  men, teenagers, and young men are being shot in the streets the “lack” of lynchings is still not quite progress in my opinion.

– based on “March” by John Lewis (pg 36-78)



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